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January 20 2007

(SPOILER) Jewel Staite speaks. About a lot of things actually: her movie "The Tribe", Firefly and Serenity, kissing Sean Maher, Wonder Woman, The X-Files, Stargate Atlantis (hence the spoiler tag) and lots more. It's a very enjoyable interview.

Cheers to Pax for the heads up.

Everytime Jewel describes Kaylee as intelligent, I am taken aback because it is not a word I would use to describe her. A genius mechanic, yes, but not intelligent. Not stupid either, by any means but not really really bright.
A nice interview though, there is a lot covered here.
Heh. She said Sean smells yummy. Heh.

I disagree. I think Kaylee's very smart. Not just intuitive, she really understands things and she picks up new info quickly.
I bet he does smell yummy. He looks yummy!

Interesting interview, thanks Simon. I like it when they go off the beaten track with interviews, like that word association thing - though probably the answers are a bit sanitised and safe. I always get a nervous mental version of tourette's when I have to do that sort of thing.

I never thought about Kaylees' intelligence much. Her character is so bubbly and kind, and I think we (viewing public, not W'equers) expect 'intelligent' in shows and films to be represented by a Wesley/ Fred/ Giles type character; bookish, glasses etc, that we don't look for it elsewhere. Intelligence as frequently shown on tv is a masculine, learn by rote affair.

But when I think about Kaylees' smarts, they seem intuitive - she says she has a feel for engines, and they speak to her. I think her type of intelligence is depicted as a very feminine one, an 'understanding and communication' with Serenity, as well as her shipmates.
Wait does that mean she comes to the Fedcon in June? Thatīd be cool!
Personally, I think Kaylee's quite intelligent...but we never really got to see the full force of her mental prowess like with Simon or River.

Now, a better example might be Inara and Kaylee, comparsion-wise. Inara and Kaylee are quite similar, I think, in that both women are intelligent but in ways that are seemingly counter-intuitive to how society perceives smarts; Inara could probably give Simon a run for his money in a lot of subjects, except those relating to medicine, and Kaylee can whip pretty much anyone barring River when it comes to understanding physics and engineering at a symbiotic level. Now neither woman gives off airs that scream "bookworm" or "nerd," but I certainly wouldn't want to test my capabilities against them 'lesss I knew it was in a subject I had more academic and life experience in ;D
I think Kaylee's Intelligence is based on Emotions and plain old Common Sense, whereas Characters like River and Simon's Intelligence is based on Knowlege. I don't presume to second guess Jewel, but I believe that's what she meant.

Wonderful Interview from a wonderful Lady! :)
Why is it that everytime I read an interview with Jewel I just want to give her a big hug? =) She's just so darn cute and adorable!
Actually Inara totally gives off bookworm airs to me. She's very well read (well, more so than Mal: "Yes, I read a poem, try not to faint"), has strong business sense, an incredible command of language, as well as her ability to read people. She's easily the one who had the most education--and not *just* interpersonal, either--of anyone save (possibly) Simon and River--though the latter was a, er, different kind of education.
That was a really nice interview. And I agree that whilst "intelligent" wouldn't be the first adjective I would think of to describe Kaylee, I do think it would apply to her. In fact, the entire crew of Serenity are a fairly smart bunch, except for perhaps Jayne, but just in different ways.

Inara is obviously highly cultured and knowledgable in a lot of different things, like archery, etiquette and body language. I'm sure she has studied a lot of art and literature. I'd imagine Simon and River probably also have being from the central planets, plus we know River's a genius (and also a dancer so she's artistically talented too) and Simon a doctor so both are quite intellectual.

Mal, Zoe, Wash and even Jayne seem to be quite good at strategic planning, plus for Wash to have become a pilot must have taken some evidence of mental ability. Kaylee is evidently a brilliant mechanic and is very sensitive to other people which is a potent combination of traditionally masculine and feminine intellect. Book was also pretty au fait with military planning, not to mention Bible studies and the work of Sun Tzu.

And of course as people have already mentioned, even Mal seems to have some appreciation for literature. I imagine that if he wasn't usually so strapped for cash he might be surprisingly literate.
As if Sean wasn't appealing enough already. I mean...damn.

I miss him and the entire cast. Think I'll have to start renting some more of their film appearances, starting with Living 'til the End since I've been waiting for that one for so long.
Chiming in here - and echoing TDBrown's comments above - I am reminded of the book 'Emotional Intelligence' that made the rounds a couple of years back. While Kaylee may not register as high on the standard I.Q. scale as either of the Tam siblings, her E.Q. certainly rates far higher than Simon's.

On a separate note, if the SG franchise adds any more female big bads in the upcoming TV movies, I'd vote for Gina or Summer, just because two Firefly alumni just isn't enough!

[ edited by Simon on 2007-01-21 10:11 ]
Dotdotdot to the above soccer thing, but does anyone know the theater date on The Tribe?
I'm always surprised how different "Kaylee" looks to me than Jewel. Jewel's so much thinner; it changes her face. When I see her, I don't see Kaylee. Even in Serenity I kept seeing Jewel instead of Kaylee.
tullyano7, that is a bit beyond harsh. Don't you think?
tullyano7 don't ever use language like that here.
Y'know as dresses go, that's got some slink to it. Mm, mmm. Good interview, different enough to be interesting, focused enough to make sense.

Must admit, Kaylee's style of intelligence always bothered me a bit. Just seemed like it may have been implying that when women know about stuff like that it's by 'feeling' things, not by actual knowledge of physics and engineering (the hoary old saw that women do emotions, men do facts). I guess though (given that it's Joss) it's probably saying that by that time knowledge of these things is so everyday that people can pick it up and (in Kaylee's case) become brilliant at it just by tinkering, with little formal education. She knows what everything is and does and how it fits together but not necessarily what it's 'really' called.

Inara, though, is very, very book smart. As a companion she'd be expected to be able to converse knowledgably with all types of male and female clients on all kinds of subjects (and we know she can fence, use a bow and knows martial arts. Technically she's probably a much better fighter than Mal and if she had his bull-at-a-gate aggression and stubborn ruthlessness she'd be very formidable). She's also clearly quite posh and has benefited from a core world education (as did Simon and River).

And hey, leave Jayne alone ! Sure, he may not be edumacated but he can hit a guy in the neck from 500 yards WITH a bent scope. He has his own set of mad skillz, yo, and like the song says "If you're gonna be dumb, then ya gotta be tough" ;).

(as for Mal's poetry, well, he's got a romantic soul, no doubt but I think he may have read that particular poem because it's about boats and sailing, and also, to some extent, what it takes to survive after a calamity. In other words, it's within his sphere of interests)
sorry but why cant i defend the sport that i love more than the verse itself?
everyone here sends threatening emails to the likes of CHUD and IGN and co when they bag out something Whedonish, i was just supporting what i believe in.
tullyano7 you're not welcome here anymore.
When I think of Kaylee's intellengence, I always think of how intuitive she was. Remember her watching Book pick a ship? She knew he was going to pick Serenity. I loved that scene. It said so much about both characters.

"edumacated" - one of my favorite words :)
I recall what tullyan07 wrote, and appreciate that the comment is unwelcome, removed. He was not so much supporting what he believes in as insulting Jewel for having a contrary opinion. IOW, intolerance of opposing views.

Thanks, Simon.
does anyone know the theater date on The Tribe?

I don't think it has theatrical distribution (yet). At a guess it'll get sold to Sci-Fi, and then on to DVD.
Awww! I want it to be in theaters, so I can see Jewel on the big screen!
Everytime Jewel describes Kaylee as intelligent, I am taken aback because it is not a word I would use to describe her. A genius mechanic, yes, but not intelligent.

There's a world of difference between the terms "intelligent" and "formally educated". Kaylee's wicked smart and very intuitive. That adds up to a lot of intelligence. She's just not very formally educated, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Saje, I also had some of that uneasiness about Kaylee's style of intelligence, but I think what goes on with her is that her understanding of mechanics and physics is so deeply engrained that she grasps how something works without having to consciously think it through. It's not so much that her knowledge is not based on formal education, it's that it's not verbal. I have known people like that (mostly men) who through some combination of experience with lots of mechanical things, and really good grasp of how things work, can figure out how to fix just about anything, without necessarily articulating all the steps along the way. You also tend to have a lot more of that in rural areas where people have to be much more self-reliant about mechanical things, and are much more used to pulling things apart and figuring out what needs fixing, and isn't Kaylee from a farming planet? She may well have been tinkering with machinary since she was three years old.

To the extent that she seems unintelligent, as opposed to unedumacated, I think that impression may come from her indomitable good spirits. There's a point where optimism and good cheer in the face of the reality of life just seems like unconquerable naivite. There's the whole thing about how pessimists really have a better grasp of reality than optimists. On the other hand, optimists are happier. And I think Kaylee sees and understands a lot (the bit about her figuring out that Book was going to board Serenity by watching him is a good example), but at some level she's figured out that looking on the bright side makes life better.

[ edited by barboo on 2007-01-22 00:26 ]
I always thought of Kaylee as being intelligent. I actually thought of the whole crew as being intelligent, just in different ways.

"She knows what everything is and does and how it fits together but not necessarily what it's 'really' called."

No, Saje, that's me when I work tech theater. ;-) I cannot think of a time that Kaylee does not identify the part by name. I always assumed that even though she indicates she "just knows" about these things it is because she was raised in an environment where she was exposed to engines and down and dirty engineering.

A couple years ago on the American version of Junk Yard Wars there was a group of brothers who were raised on a farm in Pennsylvania, if I recall correctly. Those guys were like Improvisation Is Us when it came to building machines. They said themselves that that is what they did on the farm all the time. I do not remember what kind of formal training they had, but I would imagine it involved farming rather than engineering. They were obviously intelligent hard working fellows who had been raised with the idea that there was a way to make things work, you just had to figure out what it was. Anyway they ripped through the competition won the whole thing, including the international competition against the winners of the British version of the show. Somehow Kaylee and most of the rest of the crew, for that matter, always made me think of those guys.
Cool story, newcj. Junk Yard Wars is so fun. I could totally see Kaylee being the Junk Yard Wars queen.
S'funny you should say that Barboo (and, actually newcj too) because after I posted I started thinking about working a few summers on a farm back in the dimmish and distantish. There were some older guys there who left school at 14 or 15 and didn't read much beyond the football scores on a Saturday afternoon but they could practically take a tractor to bits and rebuild it. Some of them could even make replacement parts if you handed them a piece of metal and the keys to the workshed so you're right, there's a lot to be said for that kind of hands-on experience and intuitive grasp of how things work.

And yeah, sometimes she could be a bit of a pollyanna (or maybe i'm just a right cynical bastard ;) which does often lead to a "Are you daft in the head ?" sort of response when someone seems to be almost wilfully not grasping the whole nasty extent of a situation.

newcj, y'know, i'm trying to come up with an example to prove my point .. but I can't. She actually did know the names too, maybe I got the impression she didn't because of the slang and the references to how 'Serenity' felt. I think it goes back to what I said above that we 21st century people expect space-ship engineers to be very, very clever (almost, y'know, rocket scientists ;) whereas by the 26th (?) century, it's a lot more like motor-mechanic i.e. a skilled job but not one that really requires a formal education.

(used to be addicted to 'Scrapheap Challenge' as it is/was over here when *cough* we invented it ;) *cough* and even vaguely remember the one you mean - though all the various times the US kicked our arse, usually with some crazily powerful monster truck/boat/drill/tank/all-of-the-above, do tend to blend together. I still think our guys generally seemed to have more fun though ;)
As if Sean wasn't yummy enough . . . Jewels says he 'smells' yummy too?

Loved the interview. I hadn't read it before.

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